Black History Month Alumni Spotlight – Congressman Danny K. Davis fights for social justice

The Honorable Danny K. Davis, who earned his Ph.D. from Union in 1977, is a servant leader whose life parallels Union’s mission to transform lives and communities. The congressional representative from Chicago has spent his life championing social justice.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Rep. Davis in his office recently,” said Union Institute & University President Karen Schuster Webb. “He is a proud alumnus of Union and a champion for higher education and the pursuit of equity of access to educational excellence. He has dedicated his career to the advancement of racial, ethnic, and underrepresented populations in higher education. He is truly living and breathing the Union legacy.”

One action Dr. Davis is taking aims to help those students who are employed while attending college. He wants to explore ways they can better afford their tuition. Rep. Davis is a co-sponsor of U.S. House Bill 4849, called the Upward Mobility Enhancement Act. If approved, employed students would be eligible to receive up to $11,500 a year in tax-free education assistance from their employer. This more than doubles the tax-free amount allowed by current statutes, reducing the need for student loans.

Danny K Davis

Honorable Danny K. Davis

Another area he is tackling is the homeless problem. He is working across party lines to coordinate efforts to develop affordable housing initiatives, as seen in this panel discussion. He is also a co-sponsor of the Housing for Homeless Students Act of 2019, directed to help the homeless students and veterans. Currently, individuals pursuing full-time education are not eligible for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and can lose access to scholarships and grants if they switch to part-time education in order to retain access to affordable housing. “Offering students housing security with this limited, common sense adjustment to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit could prevent youth from being forced to choose between completing a college degree or stable housing.”

Congressman Davis has served as the U.S. Representative from Illinois’s 7th congressional district since1996. He serves on the Committee on Ways and Means and is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, the Urban Caucus, Community Health Center’s Caucus, Congressional Sugar Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys, and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Re-entry. In addition, he has championed the inclusion of PBI’s (Predominantly Black Institutions) as an institutional category for special federal grant funding and is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support.

Join Rep. Davis and other alumni in your pursuit of social justice with a degree from Union that interweaves social responsibility, and its core values of diversity and social justice within a context of academic excellence. Click here to choose your new career pathway. Your Goals. Your Success. Your Union. We’ve Got U!